S Krishna mahadevasiva at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 14 01:40:44 UTC 1998

For my comments please scroll down:(Apologize for the long post)
N.Ganesan says:
<<Tamil texts usually attribute tamil's guru as "Siva,
>(eg., kuutta nuul, tiruviLaiyaaDal puraaNam, kAnchip purANam, ...).
>He teaches tamil to Murugan who teaches it in turn to

and S.Palaniappan had said:

>I saw the following post in Indology. The above material
>shows that grammar was taught by Siva or Avalokitiisvara
>depending on whether it is a "saivaite or buddhist text
>that we are reading. This legend is current not only in the Northwest
of India, but also in the extreme South of India as well.
>But based on the evidence presented by Deshpande, the Tamil grammatical
and literary traditions, and Chinese accounts of  T=
>amilregion, a case could be  made that the zaivite and Buddhist claims
or=iginated not in the northwest of Indian subcontinent but in the
southern porti=on of  ancient Tamil region which includes present
Tamilnadu and Kerala.>>

  My understanding of the case being made for a southern origin is
that 1. there is a similar tradition of contention in Tamil  between
Buddha and Siva revealing Tamil grammar to Agastya
2. There is some evidence to believe that the Potalaka being refered to
is not the one in the north-west of India but lies in the southern part
of the country.

   The earliest proof of "linguistic conflict" in Tamil seems to be
the conflict between the vaTakalai and the teGkalai vaiSNavas over the
status of Tamil and Samskrt. As Indira Peterson points out, this
conflict seems to have been carried over into the Saiva tradition in the
11th-12th century. Since the "vIracOziyam" is itself a 12th century
text, I believe that a restatement of the story of the revealation( i.e.
Buddha in place of ziva) seems to be an extension
of the existing tension between Tamil and Samskrt into Buddhism; in
other words while the zaivas and vaiSNavas simply debated the status of
the languages, the buddhist texts seem to have put a religious spin on
the existing conflict by talking about the revelation of the
"vIracOziyam" by buddha.

  If one follows the patterns of myth making as explained in various
places e.g. Kosambi or an analysis of the rAmAyaNa in south-east Asia,it
is possible to see that a given myth always propogates in increasing
order of complexity i.e. a simple story involving say X and Y will
involve an extra person Z when it travels to a second place, will
involve a 4th person A when it travels to a third place. If this
principle were to be applied here, it can be seen that the samskrt
version has only two people involved, ziva and pANini. In the Tamil
version, there exist 4 different people starting from ziva i.e.
ziva, murukan2, agastya and tolkAppiyar. Not only does the line of
tranmission become more complex( itself evidence of the story being
extant for some time and external to the place), it also invloves a very
Tamil factor i.e. murukan2 which is a good example of localization of an
external legend.

   In addition, we can also see the EXTENT to which the Tamil myth was
developed since there also seems to have been a point in Tamil
literature when both sides were willing to  resolve things and concede a
*joint-ownership* over the "vIracOzhiyam". This occurs in the story of
kAcciyappaiyAr, the author of the kaNTapurANam. According to legend,
murukan2 appeared to kAcciyappayAr and asked him
to write poems in praise of ziva, which the poet did and presented in
front of an audience. The audience pointed out an error in his
"sandhi"-fication which he was asked to explain; the same night murukan2
appeared to kAciyappa and asked him to look up the "vIracOziyam" which
had the neccesary rule. Thus this myth involves both murukan2 and ziva
from the Hindu side as well as the buddhist text the "vIracOziyam".  It
would now seem that an external
origin is more probable since the point of grammar over which there was
a contest seemed to have been more influenced by samskrt than by Tamil.
Thus, the fact that a further layer of resolution( with involvement by
both sides) is added to the embryo of the conflict and THAT involves
samskrtic influence makes me think that the actual myth
is external to the Tamil country and seems to have come there through

 I believe that the earliest references to ziva in Tamil literature go
no earlier than the 6th century C.E. at which time the conflict seems to
have already existed elsewhere.As Zvelebil points out, the need for
having Ziva as the father of the Tamil diety murukan2 itself arose after
contact with the north. At the same time, I believe that the
legend of the 3 sangams, available from the 9th century onwards talks
about the presence of sarasvati at the 2nd sangam; the peculiarity of
sarasvati being that she is a northern diety.(What is interesting here
is that because the legend goes back to the 9th century and we find
sarasvati..if the legend dated back to the 2nd century, I'm sure that
we would not have seen sarasvati) Thus, since we see that any legend
involving vedic dieties( ziva=rudra) has to be traced back north, it is
possible to say that a legend involving a diety like siva also has to be
traced northwards i.e. it would have an origin outside the Tamil

  What I would  also like to point out is that as a result of contact
with the northern part of India, there seems to have arisen a situation
in the Tamil country where every concept or place of some importance in
the north had to have a southern/local counterpart. As evidence of this,
among places we have ten2kAci which namewise is the southern counterpart
of kAzi, man2n2ArkuTi which is the southern counterpart of dvAraka, the
kAvEri which according to certain texts is the southern equivalent of
the gaGgA, citamparam/nAkapaTTinam which like the kailAsa mountain is
refered to as "zivarAjadhAnikSEtra" etc.Thus, the above conflict between
Buddha and Ziva w.r.t Tamil seems to be part of a bigger pattern of
having a local equivalent for every given place/situation/contention in
Samskrt/the North, which is as very prevalent and pervasive as the above
nomenclatures show.

  I realise that the evidence presented may be circumstancial but the
huge amount of it available would seem in my humble opinion to support
the fact that the conflict arose among Hindus and Buddhists outside the
Tamil country, which the local groups adopted and then adapted to the
local circumstances.


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